US Supreme Court rules against tough abortion restrictions

NBC News: Supreme Court, in 5-4 ruling, strikes down restrictive Louisiana abortion law

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Louisiana’s tough restriction on abortions violates the Constitution, a surprising victory for abortion rights advocates from an increasingly conservative court.

The 5-4 decision, in which Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the court’s four more liberal justices, struck down a law passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2014 that required any doctor offering abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. Its enforcement had been blocked by a protracted legal battle.

Two Louisiana doctors and a medical clinic sued to get the law overturned. They said it would leave only one doctor at a single clinic to provide services for nearly 10,000 women who seek abortions in the state each year.

The challengers said the requirement was identical to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. With the vote of then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that Texas imposed an obstacle on women seeking access to abortion services without providing any medical benefits. Kennedy was succeeded by the more conservative Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by President Donald Trump, who was among the four dissenters Monday.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the Texas decision, also wrote Monday’s ruling. The law poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking an abortion, offers no significant health benefits, “and therefore imposes an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have an abortion.”

Roberts said he thought the court was wrong to strike down the Texas law, but he voted with the majority because that was the binding precedent. “The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”

So it isn’t just a matter of appointing conservative judges, they (some of them) are still bound by precedents.

What the Supreme Court’s Abortion Decision Means

Trump on full term abortions

Donald Trump has made many preposterous claims in his campaign. Some of his most troubling and ridiculous came out in the third and final presidential debate, on abortion.

Trump said he would make Supreme Court appointments that would overturn Row v. Wade.

Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Would Overturn Roe v. Wade

Donald Trump said during the third presidential debate Wednesday night that his Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision that protects a woman’s right to end her pregnancy until the fetus is viable outside the womb. 

“If we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that will happen,” the Republican nominee said. “That will happen automatically in my opinion, because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.” 

Openly saying he would stack the Supreme Court must be a concern.

Trump also pandered to conservatives but annoyed votes he desperately needs to pick up on his Supreme Court comment.

Trump saying he will appoint SCOTUS justices to overturn Roe v. Wade caused his numbers with independents to tank.

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More from Huffington:

Trump said earlier this year that if abortion were illegal, women should “face some sort of punishment” for having one. When Clinton criticized him for that comment in the debate Wednesday night, Trump fired back with the misleading claim that Clinton supports abortions “on the final day” of pregnancy.

“If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother,” Trump said. “Just prior to the birth of the baby. You can say that that’s OK, and Hillary can say that that’s OK, but it’s not OK with me.”

“Because based on what she’s saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day. And that’s not acceptable.”

Birth happens on the final day. It is ludicrous to suggest that babies are ripped out at all let alone aborted at full term.

90 percent of abortions take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

Dr Jennifer Gunter at Huffington Post: Donald Trump Confuses Birth With Abortion. And No, There Are No Ninth Month Abortions

To put it in perspective, 1.3 percent of abortions happen at or after 21 weeks and 80 percent are for birth defects.

Put another way, 1 percent of abortions that are at or after 21 weeks and are for birth defects and 0.3 percent of abortions are at or after 21 weeks and are not for birth defects (some of these will be health of the mother and a very few will be for other indications).

Birth Defects

This could range from Down syndrome to anomalies incompatible with life. The generally accepted limit of viability is 24 weeks.

After 24 weeks, birth defects that lead to abortion are very severe and typically considered incompatible with life. These procedures are either a traditional induction, just like labor, or something that requires instrumentation. Because of the nonsensical partial birth abortion law women who wish to have a dilation and extraction (a modified technique for more advanced procedures) need to have fetal cardiac activity stopped with an injection into the uterus. Either way, it’s a two or three (or even four) day process to get the cervix to dilate enough.

The further along in the pregnancy, the more likely the procedure will be an induction of labor. But a skilled practitioner can do a dilation and extraction at 32 or 34 weeks. I’ve never heard of a dilation and extraction for any other reason than severe birth defects, and often, it is for a woman who has had two or three c-sections for whom inducing labor might pose other health hazards, like uterine rupture. Are we to force women to have c-sections for a pregnancy that is not compatible with life?

Other

Some of the 0.3 percent of abortions after 21 weeks will be for personal reasons. Often these are called elective abortions, but I don’t like that term. Usually this happens when it took too long to find a clinic and raise the money. These abortions happen before 24 weeks. There is no ninth month action here either.

The Facts

There are no ninth month abortions. Really. A ninth month abortion is a unicorn and so it’s ridiculous to even discuss it. Terminations after 24 weeks are for severe fetal anomalies.